Of cottonwoods and the (N)Platte

Cottonwood group

I became focused on the cottonwoods today. Groups tended to indicate a home and cluster of ranch buildings.

Cottonwood solo beeves

Solos tended to be in grazing land…. [I am being kind; I probably shot fifty photos of cottonwoods today.]

NPlatte wide shallow

Of course, the real ecological focus of this area is the river, here the North Platte. This is a LOT of water for mid-August. We heard that somewhere north and west of here they got 8″ in something like an hour the other day. In pockets, we have seen flooding in fields. It’s spotty, though—but everywhere seems especially green.

Eroded greywhite

Hmmm. Not everywhere. We’ve been seeing blowouts since the Sandhills. When I worked there, people said the bison made some of them. Since the bison have been gone a good long while, I’m just not sure. This seems more like an eroded slope, however.

UP coal train

Wending among all of the above: coal trains. This is the famous Powder River coal that may keep you warm this winter. We usually count two engines in front (east end), and one pushing the train from the west end. The west-bound trains of empty cars are longer with usually two or three engines. Seems to me that the engine count in the Powder River Basin might become deficient.

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